A film by Tyler Hubby
2016, 96 minutes
No. 236


Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present examines the pioneering life and works of artist, musician, and educator, Tony Conrad - one of the great American artists of our time, yet to the world at large he remains criminally under appreciated.

Since the early 1960s, Conrad's films and compositions have been the stuff of legend for artists and musicians everywhere. His vast, inter-disciplinary repertoire has single-handedly created and influenced major film and compositional movements. He performed in and recorded the soundtrack to Jack Smith’s legendary Flaming Creatures; he turned the paradigms of cinema upside down with The Flicker, a film composed of only black and white frames; his development and practice of Just Intonation and Minimalism through his work with Stockhausen and La Monte Young still has the music establishment scratching their heads; his pivotal role in the formation of The Velvet Underground has directly or indirectly influenced everyone who has picked up a guitar since; as an early adopter of activist public access television he democratized the emerging medium of portable video. 

In his later years he continued to perform and make work that pushed the boundaries of reason for which he has finally begun to receive worldwide attention. Utilizing intimate footage of Conrad and his collaborators shot by the director over the last twenty-two years, as well as Tony’s own archive of recordings and films, Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present mirrors Conrad’s own playfully radical approach to art making. The non-linear structure allows Conrad to wildly free associate his streams of consciousness, revealing an honest and humane way of navigating a remarkable, creative life.

Official Selection, DOC NYC
Official Selection, International Film Festival Rotterdam
Official Selection, Viennale

“Joyous, exhilarating, and transformative. Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present is essential viewing for anyone involved in the history of music and visual art.”  Amy Taubin, Artforum

“Fascinating. ‘I want to make abstract art that’s funny, happy, energetic, joyful,' Conrad exclaims at one point. That he did. This movie is a good introduction to it.”  The New York Times

“An exploration of avant-garde art that has little time for elitism or pretense… Moby, Tony Oursler and others share their admiration for multi-disciplinary artist Tony Conrad in Tyler Hubby's debut doc… Should both please longtime Conrad admirers and explain to newbies what people see in him.” – Hollywood Reporter